News: Atmosphere 0.10.1 is out (Not A Pre-Release!) with many fixes and hid-mitm still there & Flycast becomes the first Dreamcast emulator to get Vulkan rendering support!
With just 13 days to go till Christmas, releases in hobbyist scenes are ramping up and the Switch/Dreamcast have both got a slice of the action. In this article, we’ll be looking at the release of Atmosphère 0.10.1, a version you should probably update to, and the world’s first implementation of a Vulkan rendering backend in a Dreamcast emulator.
Switch Release: Atmosphère 0.10.1 released with many fixes, code improvements and the retention of hid-mitm
A few days ago, Atmosphère 0.10.0 was released and this was touted as a pretty major release as it added support for the recently-released FW 9.1.0, implemented a good deal of rewritten code and fixed a whole slew of bugs. However, this version was labelled as a pre-release since it was decided that it needed some more testing and now, we have a proper release with version 0.10.1.
As per its pretty hefty change log, this update to one of the Switch’s most widely used CFWs comes with:
- The retention of the hid-mitm module which is essential for using older Switch homebrew (not recompiled in the last 3 months) on FW 9.0.0+
- When this module is removed, button input will no longer function correctly in older Switch homebrew on FW 9.0.0+ thus rendering most of it useless.
- Initially, this release was going to remove it but since it came soon after the previous release, it was kept there. Now, this module is going to be removed in Atmosphere 0.10.2
- The library system used in Atmosphere and the build system for stratosphere system modules were overhauled
- Improvements related to memory management including:
- The ‘boot’ sysmodule is now loaded into non-secure memory which helps with preventing the fragmentation of the system memory heap
- Memory reallocation to the system pool now works properly on Firmware 5.0.0+
- Many bugs were fixed including one that caused some NROs not to load (including the latest version of Super Smash Bros) and one that caused memory corruption when redirecting certain RomFS content.
Regardless of which firmware version you’re on, updating Atmosphere to this version is probably a good idea since it incorporates a good deal of fixes/rewrites over Atmosphere 0.9.x and it’s the last version that will allow older homebrew to work on FW 9.0.0+!
To grab Atmosphere 0.10.1 and check its full change log, follow this link.
Emulation News: Flycast, a Dreamcast emulator, gains Vulkan rendering back-end marking a scene first!
Like Yuzu (Switch emulator), Flycast has jumped on the Vulkan bandwagon as its developer ‘flyinghead’ has just added a graphics rendering backend using the technology.
With this development, Flycast has become the first Dreamcast emulator to get a Vulkan renderer which shows that Dreamcast emulator development is still going strong even to this day despite the console not being as popular as the GameCube and PlayStation 2.
To announce this, ‘flyinghead’ took to RetroArch’s official blog and published a good description of what the backend achieves along with the challenges that presented themselves while making it. In a nutshell, this post states that:
- The Vulkan rendering back-end is completely open source and it’s available on Windows, Linux and Android for now
- Emulating the Dreamcast’s graphics chip (PowerVR2) wasn’t too difficult bar for one feature namely order-independent transparency which isn’t available as a feature in graphics APIs like OpenGL and DirectX
- Proper emulation of this feature is required to provide some finer effects in games like correct shadows
- Like the OpenGL renderer, there are two versions namely a Basic Renderer (Single Pass with per-triangle/mesh sorting done via the CPU) and an OIT renderer (Multiple Subpass with per-pixel sorting performed by the GPU)
- The Basic renderer doesn’t show certain effects but may be a bit lighter on your system
- Feature-wise, the Vulkan renderer is almost on-par with the OpenGL renderer and the only things that it doesn’t implement are the lightgun crosshair and VMU screens display.
- These will be added soon so feature parity is quite close!
- While the Vulkan rendering back-end works decently, bugs are to be expected and it might not perform as well as the OpenGL renderer for now so flyinghead appeals to users to provide bug reports when something goes wrong
- It’s important to use the latest graphics driver available for your hardware as Vulkan support is still a WIP affair in some drivers
Other than these releases, the emulation scene keeps on giving as it’s been announced that RetroArch 1.8.2 will come with accessibility features for blind people and bsnes v113 is out. When it comes to Switch releases, hekate 5.1.1 and Nyx 0.8.4 have been released.